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James Clear
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James Clear writes at JamesClear.com, where he shares ideas for using behavior science to improve your performance and master your habits. For fresh ideas on how to live a healthy life — both mentally and physically — join his free newsletter. Or, download his 45-page guide called Transform Your Habits.

Entries by James Clear

40 Years of Stanford Research Found That People With This One Quality Are More Likely to Succeed

(21) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 2:46 PM

In the 1960s, a Stanford professor named Walter Mischel began conducting a series of important psychological studies.

During his experiments, Mischel and his team tested hundreds of children -- most of them around the ages of 4 and 5 years old -- and revealed what is now believed to be...

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How to Stick With Good Habits Even When Your Willpower Is Gone

(0) Comments | Posted June 28, 2015 | 9:33 PM

Most people think that building better habits or changing your actions is all about willpower or motivation. But the more I learn, the more I believe that the number one driver of better habits and behavior change is your environment.

Let me drop some science into this article and show...

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Strategies I'm Using to Stay Fit While Traveling

(2) Comments | Posted June 21, 2015 | 10:14 AM

I believe that we are meant to live physical lives, which is why I love training, weightlifting and athletic competition. But I also believe that we are meant to explore the world around us, which is why I love adventure, photography, and travel.

But balancing these two passions can be...

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Treat Failure Like a Scientist

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 2:37 PM

I recently had a wonderful conversation with my friend, Beck Tench. During our chat, Beck told me about an interesting shift in thinking that occurred while she worked at a science museum.

During her time there, Beck said that she learned how to treat failure like a scientist.

How does...

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Rome Wasn't Built in a Day, But They Were Laying Bricks Every Hour

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 12:56 PM

John Heywood was an English playwright who lived hundreds of years ago.

Today, Heywood is known for his poems, proverbs, and plays. But more than any one work, it's his phrases that have made him famous. For example, here are some popular sayings that have been attributed to Heywood...

  • "Out...
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The Power of Less: I Removed Every Inessential Thing From My Website and Here's What Happened

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2015 | 12:36 PM

When I built my first website a little over three years ago, I had no idea what I was doing.

Naturally, I figured that looking at what other websites and blogs had on their pages would be a good place to start. I started seeing sites with social media buttons,...

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I Watched an Artist Create Stained Glass and Learned An Important Lesson About Life

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2015 | 12:56 PM

Until recently, I had never been inside a stained glass studio. And then, without any planning at all, I found myself inside two different studios over the span of three days. Strange how life works like that.

I assumed that I would see some nicely colored works windows or something...

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The Power of Imperfect Starts: How Good Do You Really Need to Be to Get Started?

(0) Comments | Posted June 8, 2015 | 11:13 AM

When you have a goal -- whether it's starting a business or eating healthier or traveling the world -- it's easy to look at someone who is already doing it and then try to reverse engineer their strategy.

In some cases, this is really useful. Learning from the experiences of...

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The Myth of Creative Inspiration: Great Artists Don't Wait for Motivation (They Do This Instead)

(1) Comments | Posted June 2, 2015 | 10:21 AM

Franz Kafka is considered one of the most creative and influential writers of the 20th century, but he actually spent most of his time working as a lawyer for the Workers Accident Insurance Institute. How did Kafka produce such fantastic creative works while holding down his day job?

By sticking...

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Stop Wasting Time on the Details and Commit to the Fundamentals

(9) Comments | Posted June 1, 2015 | 8:31 AM

I was in the gym one day, training like usual, when my coach made an important observation. It didn't take me long to see how this discovery applied to other areas of my life as well.

Here's what happened.

We looked across the gym and saw someone performing lateral raises...

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How Long Does It Actually Take to Form a New Habit? (Backed by Science)

(0) Comments | Posted May 29, 2015 | 8:44 AM

Maxwell Maltz was a plastic surgeon in the 1950s when he began noticing a strange pattern among his patients.

When Dr. Maltz would perform an operation -- like a nose job, for example -- he found that it would take the patient about 21 days to get used to seeing...

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Masters of Habit: Rituals, Lessons and Quotes From Marcus Aurelius

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2015 | 10:00 AM

Marcus Aurelius was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. Known as the last of the "Five Good Emperors," Aurelius was not born into power, but rather was adopted (his biological father died when he was three years old). Historians refer to him as a kind ruler who was incredibly loyal...

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How to Eliminate Procrastination (The Surprising Strategy One Man Used)

(1) Comments | Posted May 20, 2015 | 5:06 PM

In 2009, Fred Stutzman was a graduate student at the University of North Carolina and he was trying to grind out some important work on his thesis.

But there was a problem.

His favorite coffee shop, which had previously been a quiet sanctuary where he could escape distraction and get...

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I'm Using These 3 Simple Steps to Actually Stick With Good Habits

(0) Comments | Posted May 14, 2015 | 4:22 PM

I have been trying a new strategy for building habits, and it is working incredibly well. This strategy is remarkably easy, and it is governed by three simple rules.

First I'll tell you the three rules. Then, I'll explain how I'm using this strategy and offer some other examples of...

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How to Be More Productive and Eliminate Time-Wasting Activities by Using the 'Eisenhower Box'

(17) Comments | Posted May 11, 2015 | 10:43 AM

Dwight Eisenhower lived one of the most productive lives you can imagine.

Eisenhower was the 34th president of the United States, serving two terms from 1953 to 1961. During his time in office, he launched programs that directly led to the development of the Interstate Highway System in the United...

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How to Change Your Beliefs and Stick to Your Goals for Good

(1) Comments | Posted May 6, 2015 | 2:00 PM

In one of my very first articles, I discussed a concept called identity-based habits.

The basic idea is that the beliefs you have about yourself can drive your long-term behavior. Maybe you can trick yourself into going to the gym or eating healthy once or twice, but if you don't...

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Masters of Habit: The Deliberate Practice and Training of Jerry Rice

(1) Comments | Posted May 1, 2015 | 4:14 PM

Jerry Rice is widely considered to be the greatest wide receiver in the history of the National Football League. In addition to winning three Super Bowls, Rice holds nearly every single season and career receiving record available. He is also the NFL's all-time leader in yards, receptions, and touchdowns.

Many...

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Smart People Should Create Things

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2015 | 1:42 PM

It was 1974 and Art Fry was spending his weekend singing for the local church choir. On this particular Sunday, Fry was dealing with a relatively boring problem: He couldn't keep his bookmarks in place.

In order to find hymns quickly, Fry would stick little pieces of paper between the...

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How to Solve Difficult Problems by Using the Inversion Technique

(0) Comments | Posted April 20, 2015 | 6:18 PM

Here's a new framework for thinking about how you solve difficult problems (like losing weight and getting fit, creating more innovation in your company, learning a new skill, or otherwise changing your behavior).

I call this strategy the Inversion Technique and author Josh Kaufman covers it in his book,

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What to Do When You Have Too Many Ideas (And Not Enough Time)

(2) Comments | Posted April 20, 2015 | 11:04 AM

What do you do when you have too many ideas and not enough time? Or similarly, what about when you have too many tasks and not enough energy?

As an entrepreneur, I feel like I've been battling this issue for awhile. There is always another opportunity to chase or a...

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